By Keith Idec
SANTA MONICA, California – Abel Sanchez wasn’t impressed by how Daniel Jacobs boxed against Maciej Sulecki on Saturday night.
In fact, Gennady Golovkin’s trainer is convinced his fighter took something out of Jacobs in their competitive battle 13½ months ago that has made Jacobs a different fighter in his two subsequent bouts. If Jacobs were to fight unbeaten contender Jermall Charlo, though, Sanchez still would favor Jacobs to win.
Jacobs and Charlo have developed a rivalry recently and have repeatedly stated that they want to fight each other next. Sanchez is intrigued by that bout, which would pit the mandatory challengers for Golovkin’s WBA title (Jacobs) and his WBC championship (Charlo) against one another.
“I think that Jacobs brings himself up to another level, mentally, and I think that Jacobs wins that fight,” Sanchez told BoxingScene.com on Thursday following an interview session with Golovkin. “I don’t think Charlo is good enough. Charlo has looked good against Hugo Centeno, but Centeno quit against Julian Williams [a no-contest]. And Charlo looked good against a cripple from Argentina [Jorge Sebastian Heiland].
“But he hasn’t – in my opinion, anyway – gotten to the level where Jacobs is. And if Jacobs gets his mind right, I think that Jacobs beats him. It’s a good fight. It’s a very good fight, but I would give a slight edge to Jacobs.”
Houston’s Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs) recorded a spectacular second-round knockout of Centeno (26-2, 14 KOs, 1 NC) on April 21 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Charlo, 27, won the WBC’s interim middleweight title that night and solidified his spot as Golovkin’s mandatory challenger.
The former IBF junior middleweight champ stopped Heiland (29-5-2, 16 KOs) in the fourth round of his previous bout. Heiland entered the ring with a leg injury that night, which prohibited him from offering any real resistance and tarnished Charlo’s victory July 29 at Barclays Center.
Brooklyn’s Jacobs, 31, has recorded back-to-back, 12-round, unanimous-decision victories over Milwaukee’s Luis Arias (18-1, 9 KOs) and Poland’s Sulecki (26-2, 10 KOs) since suffering a close loss to Golovkin in their 12-round middleweight championship match in March 2017 at Madison Square Garden.
Sanchez was critical earlier this week of Jacobs’ performance against Sulecki, who repeatedly landed his right hand against Jacobs on Saturday night at Barclays Center (https://www.boxingscene.com/sanchez-jacobs-looked-terrible-not-same-fighting-golovkin--127710). A resilient Jacobs dropped Sulecki in the 12th round in what was a competitive fight (117-110, 116-111, 115-112).
According to Sanchez, Jacobs’ experience against a higher level of opposition sets him apart from Charlo.
“At least with Jacobs, you can say he’s been in fights where guys have actually come at him and hit him,” Sanchez said. “Charlo has not tested those waters yet, and Jacobs is a hell of a fighter when he’s correct up here [in the mind].”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.